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Are Glow Sticks Toxic? Safety Tips & What To Watch For

Young child with glow sticks in their hand lying on the floor

Glow sticks are a popular item  for young children. They can be used as a toy or worn as an accessory. They’re also popular during holidays like Halloween and the Fourth of July. But, did you know that these fun toys may be harmful if exposed to the skin, eyes, or ingested?

What Is In A Glow Stick? 

Glow sticks contain a substance called dibutyl phthalate, a clear, oily, colorless liquid. It is low in toxicity but can cause irritation to any part of the body it is exposed to. Watch for signs of irritation, such as redness, itching, and stomach upset. 

How Do The Chemicals in Glow Sticks Work? 

Glow sticks contain two liquids that are stored in separate chambers in the glow stick. When you break the stick in half, you open a small vial of hydrogen peroxide that mixes the chemicals, creating a glow stick chemical reaction which produces the light. 

Are the Chemicals In Glow Sticks Non-Toxic?

The chemicals in glow sticks are relatively low in toxicity. But they may cause irritation to any part of the body with which it comes in contact with. 

What If Someone Ingests Glow Stick Fluid?

If someone swallows glow stick fluid, it may cause minor upset stomach and mouth irritation. You may even find that the person’s lips and tongue may glow for a few minutes. Wipe the person’s mouth with a clean wet washcloth, then give the person some water to drink. If symptoms continue, call the Missouri Poison Center. 

Glow stick chemicals in the eye?

If glow stick fluid gets into your eyes, rinse the eyes out with room temperature water for at least 10 minutes and continue to watch for redness, itching, or tearing. If you need assistance with rinsing your eyes or irritation continues, call the Missouri Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222. 

Glow stick chemicals on the skin?

If you find glow stick chemicals on your skin, remove any clothing wet with the liquid and wash any exposed areas of skin with soap and water. Additionally, watch for signs of irritation such as redness, itching, or discomfort.  If irritation continues, call the Missouri Poison Center. 

Glow Stick Safety

Always supervise children while they play with glow sticks since the sticks are fragile and can break easily. Children may also attempt to put these in their mouths or chew on them. If a glow stick does break open, immediately dispose of it in the trash. 

Questions? Call The Missouri Poison Center

If you find your child with a broken glow stick, do not panic. Follow the correct instructions for eye, skin, or ingestion exposure. For further treatment advice or questions, call the Missouri Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 where a specially trained nurse or pharmacist can assist you further. 

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